Sunday, December 3, 2023

Despensa opens doors after much anticipation 

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Despensa opened its doors last Wednesday. Times photo Wayne Martin

New Zealand’s newest restaurant has opened its doors in Howick.

Owned by well-known Howick restaurateurs, Ted Waters, Carmen Holmes and Greg Holmes, Despensa opened its doors last week after much anticipation.

Despensa is a new-fashioned eatery, serving traditionally inspired dishes and drinks reminiscent of the street food found in markets and taquerias [taco stands] throughout Mexico.

It is the newest addition in the co-owners’ collection of restaurants, alongside Daisy Chang, The Apothecary and Piggy Bar.

“When you open a restaurant, it’s actually New Zealand’s newest restaurant, for a day at least, which is pretty cool to think about,” says Waters.

Located on the corner of Picton and Wellington streets, the Mexican restaurant is hard to miss with a large ‘Cold Beer’ sign erected on the front of the building.

Despensa has pledged to pay homage to its land heritage daily, which used to be the site of the old Howick Fire Station in the 1970s. Photo / Alan La Roche 

“It should engage a younger demographic from what Howick is used to,” says Waters.
Carmen says the new addition means locals will no longer have to travel into Auckland City to get their fix of Mexican food.

“And who doesn’t love a good frozen margarita,” she says.

Waters says after Covid, there was a little bit of an uptake on getting out and trying ethnic food.

“Hopefully it will bring some more life to that corner,” says Ted.

In a nod to the history of the site, which once was home to the Howick Fire Station in the 1970s, Despensa has pledged to pay homage to its land heritage daily.

Reservations for Despensa are now open and can be made by visiting the website, calling the team on 532 9337, or visiting them in store.

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